Revenue growth and profit growth are the raison d’être of companies. Even in government agencies and nonprofits, growth is important to efficiently fulfilling and improving the mission. And growth in all circumstances is even more important when economic times are uncertain.

We are conducting research into how a traditional IT organization supports its company’s growth initiatives. Based on the interviews so far, we’ve seen a pattern in which the technology organization has evolving roles as growth enablers, growth integrators, and growth amplifiers.

  • As a growth enabler, IT supports all customer-facing and customer-enabling processes: marketing, sales, contracts, customer care, and so on. It also supports the security requirements, brokers the contributions of high-tech and service providers, and operates the data infrastructure for reporting and analytics. In this fully formed role, the CIO is a vital member of the executive leadership team.
  • As a growth integrator, IT identifies opportunities to improve customer experiences and operations that lie between departments (for example, between a bank’s core products or the front office and back office). With this pan-functional and pan-business-unit view, IT can help automate fulfillment, customer onboarding processes, or business-spanning insights platforms. In this role, the CIO is often also a chief operating officer and sometimes a chief product officer.
  • As a growth amplifier, IT builds products and platforms, develops digital product and service extensions, and manages an active emerging technology innovation practice. In this role, the CIO is often also the chief technology officer and the chief innovation officer.

These labels also indicate how visible, hence valued, the IT organization is as a driver of growth. This gives CIOs and CTOs a path forward: 1) Become a complete growth enabler; 2) expand the growth integrator role; and 3) advance with a future fit technology strategy to be a growth amplifier.

We are just getting started with our research, so if you have a story or a point of view on how your IT organization supports growth (or how you’d like it to support growth), please give us a shout.